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Contains items on Michael Finley, Warren Moon, London HS and John Luckhardt.

October 2, 1997

DALLAS (AP) _ Maybe Michael Finley won’t be the centerpiece of the Dallas Mavericks’ latest rebuilding plan after all.

Mavericks general manager Don Nelson said he was told by Finley’s agent Henry Thomas that the swingman wasn’t interested in trying to negotiate a contract extension before Wednesday’s deadline, instead preferring to test free agency next summer.

``We were prepared to commit a lot of dollars to him, but our offer was rejected,″ Nelson said Tuesday. ``Michael wants to test free agency and that’s his prerogative. ... I’m disappointed.″

The Dallas Morning News cited club sources who said the offer to Finley was around $40 million for five years. Nelson wouldn’t address specifics, but said he thought the sides were close to a deal.

``Michael wants to have an opportunity to be compensated according to what he thinks his market value is,″ Thomas said. ``The other thing very important to Michael is that he wants to be on a competitive team, and ... it’s kind of hard to look at Dallas’ situation right now and know what kind of team they’re going to have.″

Finley, in the final year of a three-year, $2.2 million contract, averaged 19.2 points while starting the last 35 games last year after being acquired from Phoenix in the Jason Kidd trade.

The Suns made Finley a first-round pick in 1995, the first year that top draft picks were required to sign three-year contracts as the NBA attempted to slow escalating salaries for rookies.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Seattle Seahawks quarterback Warren Moon still has a lot of friends left from his days with the Oilers, and he’s just glad he has never gone through a franchise move.

``I’m sure that’s a big disaster for a player when he’s trying to get ready for a season, the uncertainty of it all,″ Moon said Wednesday while preparing for the Seahawks’ game with the Oilers on Sunday.

He works out at the same gym as safety Marcus Robertson and cornerback Darryll Lewis during the offseason, and watched as they tried to figure out if they should sell their houses and start looking for a new home in Tennessee.

``Football players are creatures of habit used to coming to the same place every day, doing the same type of things. When you have to do the things they’ve been doing, kind of makeshift, it makes it tough on the players. It really does,″ Moon said.


LONDON, Ohio (AP) _ There’s only one thing missing from a new sports complex at London High School: seating.

Volunteers who raised money and worked to build the complex, which probably will end up costing $1 million to $1.5 million, don’t have the $470,000 needed to install bleachers for 5,000 fans at the complex’s football field.

Supporters hoped the field would be finished by June. But schools superintendent Jacob Froning said completion may be delayed until additional money can be raised. The complex is being constructed at virtually no cost to taxpayers in the city school district, about 25 miles west of Columbus.

The J.J. Hartley Athletic Complex Corp. was created following the 1985 defeat of a 3-mill levy that would have paid for the complex, which includes football and soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds and a track. The new track will allow the high school to serve as host of its first track and field meet next spring.

Until the bleachers are constructed, the Red Raiders will continue to play their football games at a downtown field.


WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) _ John Luckhardt, the 52-year-old coach at NCAA Division III Washington and Jefferson, has taken an indefinite leave of absence because of an irregular heartbeat.

Luckhardt, who is 118-30-2 in 15 seasons, fainted Sept. 7 and has been undergoing extensive medical tests since. He said his career as a coach may be over.

Bill Dukette, Luckhardt’s longtime assistant, has taken over the team.

``For the first time, I can see myself not coaching again,″ Luckhardt said.

The Presidents (0-2) are off to their worst start since 1983 and play at Grove City on Saturday. They have reached the playoffs the past eight seasons.

Luckhardt has lost 20 pounds in recent weeks at the advice of his doctors. He said he tried to return to coaching too soon after his first hospital visit and had another dizzy spell last Wednesday.

``I’d like to be around a long time,″ Luckhardt said.

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